How to clean your rental property…

theorganisedcleaner/how to clean your rental property
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When it’s time to move from your rental property, it’s important to make sure that you leave the place nice and clean so you can a) get your deposit back in full; and b) get a good referral from your landlord or letting agency.

Over 50% of Londoners rent their homes rather then own them so we thought it would be useful to share some top 10 tips on how to clean your renal property to make sure that you get your deposit back when it’s time to move on:

1. Go snap happy on arrival

A simple but essential task when you first move in – take pictures of everything and keep a digital record. Check these photos against the inventory provided by your letting agency or landlord and check these match before confirming.

2. Get a house cleaner!

Unless you have the time to regularly clean your home, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, it would be worth the investment to hire a regular cleaner. This will ensure that your home is kept clean to a respectable standard – and that you will not be hit with an overwhelming cleaning job when you are ready to move. Dusting, mopping and vacuuming on a weekly basis will help reduce the stress when cleaning your rental property, and might save you from having to hire professional end of tenancy cleaners at the end of your tenancy!

3. Clean your oven, fridge and windows each month

Keeping up to date with cleaning your fridge, oven and indoor windows will also help you save time when it comes to the end of your tenancy. A regular defrost of the fridge/freezer, regular cleaning of windows and a wiping out the oven every so often will help keep things more manageable when it’s time to clean your rental property.

4. Monitor wear & tear

Undergoing a monthly check of the condition of your rental property  will help you keep track of the wear and tear your home has undergone since moving in. Taking photos, and keeping a digital record of these images with dates will also allow you to plan ahead – and help you organise these repairs and notify the letting agent and inventory clerk in advance of your move out date.

5. Invest in wooden floor cleaner

If you have wooden floors in your rental, it is important to vacuum, mop and also to apply a wooden floor cleaner every so often. If you have an open plan home, it may also be wise to invest in doormats at each and every entrance, with a rug to cover the exposed areas. This will reduce the chance of scuff marks, scratches and dents.

6. Scrub all kitchen appliances

It may seem to be common knowledge, but it is important to keep all appliances provided by the tenant/landlord in the same condition that you found them. As mentioned, it is important to keep on top of appliances like the oven and the fridge, but the smaller items must not be overlooked. A weekly clean of the toaster, microwave and kettle both inside and outside, will help you keep on top of this.

7. Stay on top of limescale

Limescale can be a pain, especially as it often occurs in hard to reach places – like the inside of coffeemakers and kettles – as well as on faucets and bathtubs, leaving an annoying chalky white substance behind. The best way to ensure you get your deposit back when leaving your rental property is to remove all limescale on a regular basis. Limescale, if uncleaned, leaves a mineral build up that can cause damage, and make soap scum and other dirt harder to remove. This is why it is important to keep an eye on appliances, tubs and faucets – and regularly remove any build up.

8. Regular carpet cleaning

You don’t need to hire a carpet cleaner, but the purchase of a spray on carpet cleaner that can be left for ten minutes and then vacuumed is essential. This does not need to be done each week, monthly will suffice, however it is important to do this regularly as it will make a big difference to how your carpet looks at the end of your tenancy. For deeper stains, especially on lighter carpets, it would be advisable hire a professional carpet cleaning company and have a quarterly or 6 month carpet clean to ensure good maintenance.

9. Property maintenance

If you have hung any artwork in the home, whether with nails or blu tac, remove these 2-3 weeks before your lease finishes. You will then have time to clean the walls, fill in any holes and repaint if necessary. Before you begin the process, always check with your landlord/letting agency that they are happy for you to repaint. There will be no bigger disappointment than having to pay for an entire repaint of the property, when you were only trying to help with a normal wear & tear.

Moving home can be a stressful time, so to make sure you don’t have the added stress of a deduction from your deposit – keep on top of your home cleaning and flow this guide on how to clean your rental property!

If you’re moving home in London and want to hire a professional end of tenancy cleaning company to take care of your clean, contact ProClean Team on 020 8742 1808 or email info@procleanteamltd.co.uk

As you’re online, why not follow The Organised Cleaning Company on Facebook and Twitter for more useful cleaning nuggets!

Protect Your Rental Property This Winter

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Winter weather, particularly flooding, can cause real and structural damage to a property. Not only will your tenants be forced out of their home, but you will have to claim on your landlord insurance. You may find that if your actions or inactions caused the issue, you could be liable for some, or all, of the repairs.

If you know that your tenants will be away over the holiday season, it is vital that you protect your property to avoid any winter-related damage.

With this in mind, follow these tips and arrange an inspection with your tenants, before it’s too late!

  1. Check the lagging in your loft

Head up to the loft and check the lagging around the water pipes and cold water storage tank. Even small gaps could let in cold air and freeze the pipes, or even the water in the tank. If there are pipes in the attic, eaves and cupboards, they are typically more exposed and are prone to freezing.

  1. Leave the central heating on permanently

This is something that you should advise your tenants to do – leave the central heating on at a minimum temperature of 15°C to protect against damp and condensation. Fitting thermostatic valves to the radiators will allow you (and your tenants) to set the valves so that the radiator comes on when the temperature falls below a certain level. This enables the heating to be kept on low without having to heat the entire house all of the time.

  1. Lag the pipes

Alongside leaving the central heating on low permanently, lagging the pipes will prevent them freezing.

  1. Check the property when it is empty

If your tenants will be away over Christmas, check the property when they are out. The main cause of a burst pipe is if they have frozen, and if this isn’t noticed early enough, water damage to the fabric of the property could occur due to leaks, causing significant damage.

  1. Seal holes in walls

Wherever a cable or phone line comes through the exterior wall, check to ensure the hole is sufficiently sealed to stop cold air getting in or warm air escaping.

  1. Leave cold taps dripping

If the property will be unoccupied for a period of time, leave at least one cold tap dripping slightly on each floor. Even the slightest of drips can reduce the risk of water freezing significantly inside the pipes, but only leave taps on if you have a cold water storage tank and are not draining down the water system.

  1. Leave cupboard doors open

If the home is going to be empty, it is a good idea to leave any cabinet or cupboard doors open in the kitchen and bathroom, to allow warm air to reach any hidden pipes.

  1. Leave doors open

If your tenants are going away, suggest they leave the doors within the house open, to enable heat to circulate around the property. Also, leaving the loft hatch open will aid this.

  1. Drain the water system

If your tenants will be away for long periods, drain the water system. The water storage tanks (hot and cold) should be drained, as well as the radiators and central heating pipes.

  1. Insulate the overflow pipe from the boiler

Condensing boilers are known for their efficiency, but in the winter, there is a risk of their overflow pipes freezing and causing damage to the property. Avoid this by getting a boiler with a Siphon trap, which releases the water in one amount. Other ways to guard against a frozen overflow pipe is to insulate the pipe or simply shorten it, so there is not as much of the pipe exposed to the outsid.

  1. Check your insurance policy 

Ensure that your landlord insurance covers you for winter-related damage. If there is an emergency that must be repaired before causing further damage to the property, your policy must cover this so that work can be completed as soon as possible. If the home becomes uninhabitable, make sure your policy covers loss of rent so that you don’t miss out on payments.

Happy Christmas!! :):)

How to carry out an End of Tenancy Clean…

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Before you get started on the task of end of tenancy cleaning their are a couple of things you should do first:
  1. The main thing to do first is to decide who is going to be doing the actual cleaning work;
  2. If you have decided to do the end of tenancy cleaning yourself, it is probably a good idea to go around the entire property with a pen and pad and make a comprehensive list of all the items that require cleaning. By taking this approach their is less likelihood that any items or surfaces will be missed out and consequently picked up by your landlord or their managing agents when the property inventory check is carried out.
  3. Once you have gone around and are satisfied that you have a list of works that covers everything, the next step is to ensure you have all the required cleaning materials and equipment for the job. What will happen if you are not fully prepared is ie. that when it comes to removal of limescale from the taps and shower head or removal of burnt on grease from the oven, without the right products you will spend hours scrubbing to no avail.
  4. Before you actually schedule your work, you will want to make sure all the kitchen cabinets are cleared and also the fridge and that any other items are cleared off the surfaces. This will make the cleaning work much easier than if you try to move things as you go along. Once you are confident that you have all the cleaning products required you should be ready to start cleaning. 

If you want a tip from a professional London cleaning company on end of tenancy cleaning, the best one we can offer, is to tackle the hardest areas first. These are normally the kitchen and bathrooms as these take the most effort and time. Try to get these areas done first while you are fresh and have plenty of energy, you do not want to be tackling the heaviest cleaning tasks when you are getting tired. The bedrooms and living spaces should be lighter work so leave them to last.

Most landlords and their managing agents these days will expect the property to be cleaned to a professional standard. Failure to reach the standard will almost certainly result in financial penalties for the excess work that is specified, or the agents may well appoint their own cleaning firm to re-clean the whole property. This can be costly for the vacating tenant because management fees may well be added to the cleaning firms cost for the agents time. It will also render your own efforts a waste of time as you will be liable to meet the full cleaning costs.

Please bear this in mind if you decide to clean yourself, and if you follow the suggestions in this blog you shouldn’t run into these sort of issues.

 

21 End Of Tenancy Cleaning Hacks That Will Surprise You!

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End of tenancy cleaning can be time consuming and the last thing you want to do when moving home. We would alway recommend that you use a professional cleaning company to deal with your end of tenancy clean.  However, if you’re pretty hands on and don’t mind doing it yourself, we thought a few more useful hacks will help you along the way!

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

  • Clean stove burners by putting them in plastic bags overnight with 1/4 cup ammonia. (Wear gloves; do in a well-ventilated area.)
  • Sanitize your garbage disposal during home cleaning by freezing lemon slices and vinegar in an ice-cube tray. Run 2 or 3 cubes through the disposal.
  • Keep your kitchen drain unclogged by pouring boiling water down it weekly.
  • Clean stainless steel appliances by buffing gently with flour on a dampened cloth.
  • For a clean microwave, mix 1 cup of water with chopped lemon. Heat 5 minutes in the microwave. Let cool and wipe the inside.
  • Clean your broiler pan or oven racks by scrubbing with salt.
  • Eliminate dishwasher stains by pouring in lemon drink-mix powder and running an empty cycle.
  • Knock out kitchen-wall grease stains during home cleaning by sprinkling cornstarch on a damp sponge and rubbing the stains.

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks

  • Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet at night. In the morning, swish and flush.
  • Remove lime or calcium on faucets by soaking a towel in vinegar. Wrap it around the area and put cling wrap on the outside. Leave overnight.
  • Remove bathroom soap scum during home cleaning with 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 5 drops of dishwashing liquid. Scrub with a sponge or brush.

Laundry Room Cleaning Hacks

  • Clean your washer by pouring in a cup of bleach or white vinegar (use more for a top loader) and running a hot-water cycle.
  • Clean in and under your dryer’s lint filter with your vacuum’s wand attachment.
  • Eliminate laundry room smells with 1 cup baking soda plus 2 drops essential oil in an old sock. Hang where the odor is the worst.

Other useful Hacks

  • Wipe ant-infested areas with white vinegar; then sprinkle cinnamon where you saw ants (do a test first to guard against stains).
  • Polish copper with ketchup. Apply liberally, leave for an hour, and wipe away.
  • Clean glass with newspapers instead of paper towels; no lint is left behind.
  • An open box of baking soda removes odors from smelly areas.
  • Clean pet carpet stains by removing pet soil, dissolving a few tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle, spraying the carpet, and blotting with a dry towel.
  • Eradicate water marks on wood by mixing half ashes, half mayonnaise. Apply to the water mark; rub gently with a cloth.

References (for bedtime reading ;))

  • The 11 best life hacks for keeping your kitchen fabulous. (2013, November 8). Huffington Post.
  • Brown, N. (2013, October 29). 30 squeaky-clean laundry hacks. Buzz Feed.
  • Burton, N. (n.d.). Surprising bathroom cleaning hacks. Mom.Me.
  • Cleaning hacks. (n.d.). Lifehacker.
  • Piro, L. (2014, July 10). 10 foods that are surprisingly good cleaners. Good Housekeeping.
  • Valliant, M. (2014, August 15). Cleaning hacks for 12 things you thought would stay dirty forever. Hella Wella.
  • Walsh, J. M. (2015, May 29). 9 genius kitchen cleaning hacks you need to know. My Domaine

Time to move?

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Thinking about upping sticks to move across the country and start again or having found a new job? The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) provides five top tips to ensure moving house runs smoothly.

1. Visit the new area

It can take six to eight months to feel at home in a new town, so make sure you are happy with the location of your new house. It’s worth visiting the new area a few times to get your bearings – spend some time driving around surrounding towns and villages. This will also help with finding transport links.

2. Settle the children

If children are moving with you, make sure you take them on a tour of the new area to point out schools, local parks and opportunities for social activities. The best time of year to move with children is usually before the start of a new school year, or at the beginning of a new term, because this will give them more time to settle in.

3. Talk to people

Speak to the existing owner or landlord of the house you intend to buy or rent, as well as the neighbours. Ask them about the best things to do in the area and for information on local events. Recommendations for local services such as doctors and dentists are also important, as well as takeaway menus for that first night after a long moving day!

4. Prepare your pets

If you have any pets, it would be worth taking a trip to your new area in advance so they can also get a sense of their new home. You could even arrange for them to be looked after while you move, as this will minimise stress for you and them on moving day.

5. Service your car

If you’re driving to your new location, it’s worth servicing your car beforehand to minimise any chance of a breakdown during your journey. Also stop regularly for breaks and speak to your removal company because they are governed by strict rules around the length of time drivers can travel for. And a full removal lorry can’t go very fast! You will want your belongings to arrive the same day that you do.

Long distance moving can be stressful enough but with careful planning and organisation, you can ensure moving day runs smoothly!

What you SHOULD know about end of tenancy cleaning!

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As a tenant, you need to be aware of a number of things that need to occur when your tenancy comes to an end. The most common situations when your tenancy will come to an end are as follows:

  • by the written agreement on a fixed date;
  • by your landlord before that date if you are in breach of the agreement; and
  • by yourself before the date of the fixed-term agreement where there is a break clause.

Regardless of the reason, a month’s (or longer) notice is normally required. Once your tenancy is coming to an end, as a tenant you have responsibilities to fulfil which, include:

  • to fix all damages, caused by you, your guests or your pets, having such;
  • to clean the property thoroughly before moving out (you can do it yourself or using a professional cleaning company);
  • to be in the property while the check-out report is prepared or the landlord inspects the property  is inspecting the place;
  • to pay your last months rent;
  • to pay all the utility bills up to the end of your tenancy.

One thing not to get too conceded with is general wear and tear at the property as this falls outside of the remit for matters that need to be rectified at the end of your tenancy.

Pay serious attention to the cleaning!

Data published by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in 2015 confirms that 54% o all deposit disputes centre around cleaning, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the property is cleaned properly, ideally by a professional cleaning company, to make sure that it his up to standard and to help with the return of your deposit.

Getting your deposit back!

It used to be that paying a security deposit at the outset of your tenancy can be quite stressful as you’re handing over a large chunk of cash without any real guarantee of getting it back when you move out. The introduction of deposit protections schemes has made things a bit easier and more secure for both landlords and tenants with regards to returning deposits and deductions made from deposits.

By law, the landlord is required to pay your deposit into one of three Government approved deposit protection schemes. Generally, a deposit secures the landlord against:

  • unpaid rent;
  • unpaid utility bills;
  • damage caused to the property beyond usual wear and tear; and
  • you have lost or not returned the keys of the property.

Provided you returned the property back in no worse state (wear & tear excepted) than it was at the start of the tenancy and it has been  properly cleaned, you should have no problems getting your deposit back within 10 days of you agreeing with the landlord the amount to be returned. If there are some disagreements between you and your landlord, the Government-backed deposit protection schemes have a set procedure which needs to be followed for disputes, which includes providing evidence and details of costs. You can find out more from our previous post by following this link!

Happy moving!

Have you carried out these home improvement jobs before the winter?

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Summer is over, dealt with it! Now it’s time to start thinking about making sure that your home and/or rental property is warm and cosy for the winter. Before the really cold weather sets in, it’s essential for homeowners and landlords to make sure that you’ve have carried out any necessary property repairs needed to ensure that your home or rental is comfortable, safe & warm for yourself or your tenants, even in the worst of weather. Checking things such as your roof, gutters, heating system, pipes and windows are just a few of the essentials when it comes to making sure that your home is ready for winter.

1. Heating Maintenance

Chances are, the heating system has not seen much use over the summer months. However, the majority of homeowners and tenants tend to use their home heating system more and more as the colder weather kicks in and being warm and cosy at becomes more and more essential. Before the winter months arrive, it’s a good idea to have your heating system checked for any potential faults and issues to make sure that it’s in good working order for the weeks ahead.

2. Clean the Gutters

Another essential job to do before the winter is cleaning the gutters. Throughout the year, the gutters will collect dirt and debris which will eventually block them if it is not cleaned out thoroughly. When a gutter has a blockage, it is unable to drain rainwater away, which could lead to problems in your home or rental and can even cause leaks. The best time to have your gutters cleaned before winter is in the autumn when there are leaves falling from trees which could get caught in your gutters.

3. Roof Repairs

Checking the roof for any signs of damage is absolutely essential before the winter weather sets in. Things such as broken roof tiles, cracks or even leaks through the roof should all definitely be dealt with before the weather becomes colder and harsher, as the last thing that you need is a roof which is unable to withstand bad weather. To check the roof, you should first start in your loft or attic before inspecting the outside of the roof.

4. Stop the Draughts

Throughout the warmer summer months, a draught can actually be cooling and comfortable. However, when the weather outside starts to get colder, keeping the cold air out and the warm air in is essential. Before the winter, you should check all the windows and doors for any small cracks which need filling in order to prevent draughts. Along with helping you to stay warm, fixing any draughts before the winter can actually mean that you or your tenants pay less on energy bills winter as there’s less chance of heat escaping from the property.

We’ve had an extended summer and before the weather starts turning completely, now is the best time to start doing these repair jobs to prepare your home or rental for winter.

Good luck!